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to such trifles, and hath such faith in dreams, which either his own fear phantasieth, or do rise in the night's rest by reason of the day's thought? Tell him it is plain witchcraft to believe in such dreams, which if they were tokens of things to come, why thinketh he not that we might as likely make them true by our going, if we were caught and brought back (as friends fail fiers), for then had the boar a cause likely to rase us with his tusks, as folks fled for some falsehood; wherefore either is there peril, nor none there is deed, or, if any be, it is rather in going than abiding. And, if we needs fall in peril one way or other, yet had I liefer that men should say it were by other men's falsehoods than think it were either our own fault, or faint feeble heart ; and therefore go to thy master and commend me to him, and say that I pray him to be merry and have no fear, for I assure him I am assured of the man he wotteth of, as I am sure of mine own hand.” “God send grace" (quoth the messenger), and so departed. Certain it is also, that in riding toward the Tower the same morning in which he was beheaded, his horse that he accustomed to ride on stumbled with him twice or thrice, almost to the falling; which thing, although it happeth to them daily to whom no mischance is toward, yet hath it been as an old evil token observed as a going toward mischief. Now this that followeth was no warning but an envious scorn
The same morning, ere he were up from his bed, there came to him Sir Thomas Howard, son to the Lord Howard (which Lord was one of the priviest of the Lord Protector's council and doing), as it were of courtesy to accompany him to the council, but of truth sent by the Lord Protector to haste him hitherward.
This Sir Thomas, while the Lord Hastings staid awhile communing with a priest, whom he met in Tower Street, brake the lord's tale, saying to him merely, “What, my lord! I pray you come on; wherefore talk you so long with that priest ? you have no need of a priest yet :” and laughed upon him, as though he would say, "you shall have need of one soon.” But little wist the other what he meant (but on night these words were well remembered by them who heard them); so the true Lord Hastings little mistrusted, and was never merrier, and thought his life in more surety in all his days; which thing is often a sign of change: but I shall rather let anything pass me than the vain surety of man's mind so near his death ; for upon the very Tower wharf, so near the place where his head was off so soon after as a man might well cast a ball, a pursuivant of his own, called Hastings, met with him, and of their meeting in that place he was put in remembrance of another time in which it happened them to meet before together in the place, at which time the Lord Hastings had been accused to King Edward by the Lord Rivers, the queen's brother, insomuch that he was for a while, which lasted not long, highly in the king's indignation. As he now met the same pursuivant in the same place, the jeopardy so well passed, it gave him great pleasure to talk with him thereof, with whom he had talked in the same place of that matter, and therefore he said, “Ah, Hastings, art thou remembered how I met thee here once with a heavy heart ?” “ Yea, my lord (quoth he), that I remember well, and thanked be God they got no good nor you no harm thereby.” “Thou wouldest say so (quoth he) if thou knowest so much as I do, which few know yet, and more shall shortly." That meant he, that the Earl Rivers, and the Lord Richard, and Sir Thomas Vaughan should that day be beheaded at Pomfret, as they were in deed ; which act he wist well should be done, but nothing ware that the axe bung so near his own head. "In faith, man (quoth he), I was never so sorry nor never stood in so great danger of my life, as I did when thou and I met here; and lo! the world is turned now: now stand mine enemies in the danger, as thou mayest hap to here more hereafter, and I never in my life merrier, nor never in so great surety.” “I pray God it prove so" (quoth Hastings). “Prove! (quoth he) doubtest thou that? nay, nay, I warrant thee.” And so in manner displeased he entered into the Tower, where he was not long on life as you have heard. O Lord God, the blindness of our mortal nature ! when he most feared, he was in most surety; when he reckoned himself most surest, he lost his life, and that within two hours after. Thus ended this honourable man: a good knight and gentle, of great authority with his prince, of living somewhat dissolute, plain and open to bis enemy, and sure and secret to his friend, easy to beguile, as he that of good heart and courage foresaw no perils, a loving man, and passing well-beloved, very faithful and
trusty enough ; but trusting too much was his destruction, as you may perceive.
332.-CHRISTMAS IN THE NORTH OF GERMANY.
COLERIDGE. CHRISTMAS WITHIN DOORS.
Ratzeburg, 1799. There is a Christmas custom here which pleased and interested me. The children make little presents to their parents, and to each other; and the parents to the children. For three or four months before Christmas girls are all busy, and the boys save up their pocket-money to make or purchase these presents. What the present is to be is cautiously kept secret, and the girls have a world of contrivances to conceal it-such as working when they are out on visits, and the others are not with them; getting up in the morning before day-light, and the like. Then, on the evening before Christmas Day, one of the parlors is lighted up by the children, into wbich the parents must not go. A great yew bougha is fastened on the table at a little distance from the wall, multitude of little tapers are fastened in the bough, but so as not to catch it till they are nearly burnt out, and colored paper hangs and flutters from the twigs. Under this bough the children lay out in great order the presents they mean for their parents, still concealing in their pockets what they intend for each other. Then the parents are introduced, and each presents his little gist, and then bring out the rest one by one from their pockets, and present them with kisses and embraces. Where I witnessed this scene there were eight or nine children, and the eldest daughter and the mother wept aloud for joy and tenderness; and the tears ran down the face of the father, and he clasped all his children so tight to his breast, it seemed as if he did it to stifle the sob that was rising within him. I was very much affected. The shadow of the hough and its appendages on the wall, and arching over on the ceiling, made a pretty picture ; and then the raptures of the very little ones, when at last the twigs and their needles began to take fire and snap !-Oh, it was a delight for them! On the next day, in the great parlor, the parents lay out on the table the presents for the children: a scene of moré sober joy succeeds, as on this day, after an old custom, the mother says privately to each of her daughters, and the father to his sons, that which he has observed most praiseworthy, and that which was most faulty in their conduct. Formerly, and still in all the smaller towns and villages throughout North Germany, these presents were sent by all the parents to some one fellow, who in high buskins, a white robe, a mask, and enormous flax wig, personates Knecht Rupert, the servant Rupert. On Christmas night he goes round to every house, and says that Jesus Christ his master sent him thither; the parents and elder children receive him with great pomp of reverence, while the little ones are most terribly frightened. He then inquires for the children, and, according to the character which he hears from the parent, he gives them the intended present, as if they came out of heaven from Jesus Christ. Or, if they should have been bad children, he gives the parents a rod, and in the name of his master recommends them to use it frequently. About seven or eight years old the children are let into the secret, and it is curious to observe how faithfully they keep it.
CHRISTMAS OUT OF DOORS.
The whole Lake of Ratzeburg is one mass of thick, transparent ice, a spotless mirror of nine miles in extent. The lowness of the hills, which rise from the shores of the lake, precludes the awful sublimity of Alpine landscape, yet compensates for the want of it by beauties of which this very lowness is a necessary condition. Yester morning I saw the lesser lake completely hidden by mist; but the moment the sun peeped over the hill, the mist broke in the middle, and in a few seconds stood divided, leaving a broad road all across the lake: and between these two walls of mist tbe sunlight burnt upon the ice, forming a road of golden fire, intolerably bright, and the mist-walls themselves partook of the YOL. IV.
blaze in a multitude of shining colors. This is our second frost. About a month ago, before the thaw came on, there was a storm of wind; and, during the whole night, such were the thunders and howlings of the breaking ice, that they have left a conviction on my mind that there are sounds more sublime than any sight can be, more absolutely suspending the power of comparison, and more utterly absorbing the mind's self-consciousness in its total attention to the object working upon it. Part of the ice, which the vehemence of the wind had shattered, was driven shoreward, and froze anew. On the evening of the next day, at sunset, the shattered ice thus frozen appeared of a deep blue, and in shape like an agitated sea; beyond this, the water, that ran up between the great islands of ice which had preserved their masses entire and smooth, shone of a yellow green; but all these scattered ice islands, themselves, were of an intensely bright blood color-they seemed blood and light in union. On some of the largest of these islands the fishermen stood pulling out their immense nets through the holes made in the ice for this purpose ; and the men, their net-poles, and their huge nets were a part of the glory-say rather, it appeared as if the rich crimson light had shaped itself into these forms, figures, and attitudes, to make a glorious vision in mockery of earthly things.
The lower lake is now all alive with skaters, and with ladies driven onward by them in their ice cars. Mercury, surely, was the first maker of skates, and the wings at his feet are symbols of the invention. In skating there are three pleasing circumstances; the infinitely subtle particles of ice which the skate cuts up, and which creep and run before the skate like a low mist, and in sunrise or sunset become colored ; second, the shadow of the skater in the water, seen through the transparent ice; and, third, the melancholy undulating sound from the skate, not without variety; and, when very many are skating together, the sounds and the noises give an impulse to the icy trees, and the woods all round the lake tinkle.
Here I stop, having in truth transcribed the preceding, in great measure, in order to present the lovers of poetry with a descriptive passage, extracted, with the author's permission, from an un